Opinion  

Industry is in unique position to offer the advice people need at this time

Siobhan Barrow

Siobhan Barrow

We are all facing new challenges that we couldn’t have foreseen a couple of months ago; whether it’s a change to our place of work, having to interact with people virtually or juggling our home and working lives.

This shift has the potential to acutely affect the financial advice community as advisers come to terms with new ways of working.

There’s no doubt that adapting to these changes will be daunting, but sound advice, and the critical role financial advisers can play in protecting and improving the financial prospects of their clients, has never been more important.

The need for financial advice has never been greater.

The situation we now find ourselves in presents unique challenges, both operationally, financially and personally. 

For individuals and businesses struggling with the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, it may be tempting for them to deprioritise financial advice and see it as a luxury.

Therefore, one of the greatest challenges that financial advisers will face during this time will be to encourage clients and prospects that financial advice is now more essential than ever.

Then there’s the challenge of adapting to a different way of working, including remote operations and potentially working with reduced capacity, at least in the short-term. 

The prospect of operating a business online, at home and with reduced staff numbers will be unnerving.

Additionally, managing the logistics of virtual consultations while offering an uninterrupted service will likely be a source of stress for many.

Value of advice

Despite this, there’s good reason to be optimistic. 

The financial advice industry is in a unique position when it comes to offering the advice people need during this time. 

From providing direction on where to access short-term financial support, to advice on managing employees and helping to plan for the longer-term, financial advisers are perfectly placed to address the real-time concerns of businesses large and small.

Spotting the hidden opportunities

While the current situation means that face to face contact isn’t possible, most of us are spending more time maintaining our relationships via video, phone and other virtual platforms. 

We’ve seen an increasing number of enquiries from financial advisers concerned about the lack of face time with clients and how this could impact their ability to ‘get the job done’.

Sean Craig, a financial planner at City Financial, recently told me: “Since a lot of our work has traditionally relied on face-to-face contact with clients, transitioning to virtual working has been daunting for many of our advisers – particularly those who aren’t typically used to working from home. 

“However, it’s shown us that new ways of working are possible and we can continue to offer significant value to our clients. 

“From reassessing and evaluating existing investment portfolios to simply offering the reassurance clients need during this time, it’s clear that the need for solid financial advice is now greater than ever.”